GUYS, honestly it doesn't even seem like it's been over a year since I updated? Like, it doesn't even compute in my brain. But, here's a long chap for waiting so long. I promise not to ghost on you again. Many apologies. Thanks to everyone who commented or reached out to see if I was dead, the internet is a weird place and I find you all super rad. Go yell at me on tumblr about everything!


Arya was sprawled out on the couch, a bowl of popcorn seated on her stomach, and the volume on the tv way too high. The Law & Order: SVU marathon she'd been ploughing through kept on chucking away. She dug her hand into the popcorn bowl and shoved it in her mouth.

"What the fuck are you doing?"

She leaned her head back over the armrest and saw Robb's confused laugh upside down.

"I could ask you the same question." Arya reluctantly hauled herself up into a sitting position and turned to look at her brother. "What're you doing here? Don't you have your own big new house now?"

Robb just lifted a brow, "Uh, I could say the same to you, Nym."

Arya rolled her eyes and picked up her bowl o' popcorn, settling it down on its rightful throne – her lap.

Robb came further into the room, shrugging off his coat and plopping himself down into the armchair beside her. "What're we watching?" He reached over and stole her popcorn, putting his feet up on the coffee table, eyes trained on the tv.

Arya stared at him in horror, mouth open and arms held out wide. "Um, excuse you. That's my snack, go make your fucking own."

She grabbed the bowl back from him as he rolled his eyes, chewing the mouthful he'd gotten before she nabbed it back.

"Jeez, alright."

"What are you doing here, anyway?"

Robb eyed her where she sat on the couch – where she'd been sitting since she'd gotten here this morning, actually.

"Just, you know… checking up on things." He said with a faux casualness that both him and Jon thought they'd perfected in high school, but had… not. "What're you doing here? Shouldn't you be at SanSan's, or with Brienne, or with your ragtag gang of miscreant youths?"

"You could not sound more like an old man if you tried." Arya just stared at him in actual shock and appall. "What, are you going to holler at me to get off your lawn next?"

Robb just nodded a bit in shame. "Yeah, "miscreant youths" was taking it a little far, wasn't it?"

"I also really think it was your usage of the phrase ragtag gang."

"How about… your group of Lost Boys?"

Arya shrugged a shoulder noncommittally, "Cheesy, but better."

"So," Robb waited. "Why are you doing a spectacular impression of a younger you on any given weekend?"

Arya rolled her eyes, "Sansa's out with Margaery and Brienne and the boys are studying for finals and don't have time for me."

"Brienne and the Boys…" Robb said dreamily. "If she ever decided to go the way of the Tyrells and become famous, that would totally be her band name."

Arya could help but laugh. She forgot how funny Robb was when he wasn't bogged down by attempting to raise them and uphold the family name. She gave Robb a lot of shit and not a lot of credit.

"That was funny."

He fake-bowed as she golf-clapped. "Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week."

"So," Arya picked at her popcorn, bypassing his corny joke in favor of getting him to actually answer the question he kept evading. "What're you doing here in the middle of a week day?"

Robb just smiled as he stole another handful from her bowl. The smile was soft and a little sad – it was honestly how she'd describe Robb when no one was looking, which, wasn't often.

Her oldest brother was the tough one – even if that's what everyone else would describe her as. He was a natural leader and decision maker, with a confident attitude and a lingering intensity that he'd yet to fully shed from his angsty youth.

But, he was funny. And loud. And laughed really hard when he didn't have to appear so serious.

He was soft and sweet and small on the inside, just like all of them. They were buttercream wrapped in acid – as Ygritte liked to say.

"I like to come here when everyone else is out."

He said it so casually, like that was a common occurrence that she should've known about. But the small, sad smile hooked it for her.

"How's Jeynie?"

Robb looked up, surprised by her question and by the actual, serious tone she'd asked it in.

"She'd good." He nodded, seemingly getting control over his initial shock. "We're good." He made sure to specify. "It doesn't have to do with her, not really."

"Then, what does it have to do with?"

Robb just sighed and ran a hand through his hair, thoroughly messing his tamed curls. "Mom and Dad. You guys."

"Us?" She blinked, confused why they'd be in the same sadness as their parents.

"Yeah." He shrugged, once again attempting to play it off casual, even though nothing in this conversation was. "I know that most of you are grown and gone, and that I'm allowed to leave and start my life, but…" He looked around the living room that hadn't changed since their mother died, except for the one armchair that Rickon had broken a few years ago. "I just feel… bad about not being here with Bran and Rick all the time."

"Robb," Arya shook her head, gaze trained solely on the blue eyes that wouldn't look up at her. "You can't feel bad for growing up and living your life. They're fine, we're all fine – in big part to you."

He looked up at her then and held her gaze. He looked tired, but not on the verge of tears – which was good. That was more Sansa's territory. Arya never felt like she was as sympathetic as she needed to be, or at least, it never came across as comforting as she meant.

"I know that. It's just hard, still. I think of Dad and what he would've done, and Mom and what she would want. I mean, not being surrounded and suffocated in this house everyday started out as a blessing." They both smirked and laughed at that. "But, it's just started to make me miss you all, make me question whether I'm doing the right thing or not."

"You are." Arya said emphatically. "Look at us, we're fine. We're all fine. Even Benjen. So, you can start to be fine too."

Arya passed him the popcorn bowl and he took it from her gently. After a moment, they settled into the groove of binge watching, passing the snacks between them liberally. They didn't talk any more after that. They just sat in comfortable silence as they watched tv.

Eventually, the back door slammed open and closed as Bran, Rickon, Jojen and Meera came home and found them.

"What the fuck are you two doing in my house?" Rickon plopped himself down in Robb's lap like he had as a child – not the gawky tween he'd become – pulling an oof! out of Robb.

"Shut it, brat." Arya tossed a cookie at Rickon's head and he attempted to catch it with his teeth and failed.

Bran cozied up next to Arya on the couch, Jojen not shy about sitting next to her little brother, as Meera took her favored armchair.

"Yeah," Robb poked Rickon in the side, causing him to squirm, in retaliation. "This was our house first, bub."

Bran snorted, laying his head on Arya's shoulder with his fingers laced with Jojen's. "Bub? Who are you, Old Timer? State your purpose here."

Arya cackled at Bran's joke as Robb rolled his eyes at being called an old man twice in one day. But, it was clear that he wasn't the least bit offended as he cuddled Rickon a bit more than he normally would.

Arya didn't call him out on it. Just as she did nothing to hinder Bran from curling furthering into her personal space.

Whether they wanted to admit it or not, clearly this had been what the two of them had been aiming for by coming here. Even if they'd come at a time of day they knew no one would be there, eventually someone always showed up.


Arya let herself into the apartment, letting her bag slide from her shoulder to the floor. Gendry sat at the kitchen island counter, large headphones over his ears, typing furiously on his laptop and ignoring everyone.

The guys sat in the living room behind him, pizza boxes and chip bags scattered about. They all looked exhausted and a bit angry, but showed no signs of stopping.

"Uh, hey?"

Lommy looked up from where he'd been banging his head repeatedly against a textbook on the coffee table. "Arya, never go to college. It's a waste of money and will flay your soul."

"So, finals are going well, I'm taking it?"

"So well." Hot Pie replied sarcastically, shifting his laptop on his lap.

Arya sat gently in the armchair by the window, moving Pod's Psychological Studies text to the table. "Want me to quiz you guys, or something?"

"I'd love a lobotomy." Lommy laid back on the floor, dramatically throwing an arm over his eyes as he did so.

"Yeah, but then you'd never remember all the shit you've been trying to cram into your brain."

"Good point. Cancel the lobotomy, more pizza would probably suffice."

Podrick groaned, "All we've eaten for two days is pizza."

"And chips." Hot Pie supplied unhelpfully. "And beer."

"Yeah…" Lommy sat up, "Maybe not pizza."

"Want me to make you guys something to eat? I'm pretty good with breakfast food and baked goods."

"Oh god, please."

Arya chuckled at Hot Pie's very verbal response, getting up from the chair and moving back towards the kitchen. She rounded the island and caught Gendry's attention.

"Hey." He smiled, moving the headphone off his ears and around his neck instead. She could hear the loud music pounding clearly. "When did you get here?"

She leaned over the counter and his laptop to press a kiss to his lips. "A few minutes ago. You were absorbed in your paper."

"Sorry," He wiped hands over his tired face. "It's kind of kicking my ass."

"How much coffee have you had?"

"Too much." Was Gendry's only response.

Arya chuckled, "Well the guys are tired of pizza so I'm making breakfast. Any requests?"

"Pancakes."

"Pancakes it is."

Arya moved about the kitchen, removing the very many empty pizza boxes and beer bottles and soda cans from the stove before pulling out the stuff for pancakes. She worked quickly and quietly to the sound of keyboard clacks and groans. She'd just piled the first stack on a plate when the door opened and Brienne walked in.

"Brie!"

Arya jumped into Brienne's space, throwing her arms around the older girl's neck and bringing her knees up to her hips so Brienne had to try and hold her like a koala.

"The fuck?"

"I've missed you! I hate college for taking you away from me." Arya dismounted but looped her arm through one of Brienne's and moved her further into the apartment. "I made pancakes."

Brienne's brows furrowed as she took Arya in. "Are you high?"

"No, you twat." Arya punched Brienne in the arm. "I just miss you. I haven't seen you in the flesh in like, eight days."

Brienne rolled her eyes, "That's not true, I saw you on Tuesday."

"Yeah," Arya said with attitude. "That was days ago."

"God, you're needy." Brienne rolled her eyes again. "I don't know how Gen puts up with you."

Gendry responded without turning around from where he was still typing at the kitchen counter. "I'm also needy."

"Oh, well, that explains a lot."

Brienne pulled away from Arya and sat down on the couch next to Hot Pie – who moved over without having to be asked. He learned his lesson from the last time Brienne asked him to scooch and he said no. It involved a lot of squealing and what Hot Pie liked to refer to as "manly tears".

Arya moved back to the stove, pouring more batter and flipping pancakes. Soon, she had enough for everyone and began passing them out. The boys groaned in approval and Arya smiled.

"Thanks, Sansa." Brienne smirked as she accepted her plate.

Arya took it back and ate it instead.

She made sure Gendry had enough before plopping down into the empty armchair and watching whatever had been playing in the background. She realized hours had past only by the new episodes and how many rounds of Bubbleshooter she'd lost.

At one point, Gendry took a break and left the counter, coming to stand by her. Arya looked up at him from where he was looming over her and rolled her eyes as she got up so he could sit down. She dropped back into his lap and cuddled up in his warmth as he rubbed his tired eyes.

He ended up falling asleep for an hour or so before dropping a kiss onto her lips and getting back to his laptop.

Not too long after that, Brienne stood, packing up her own laptop and notebooks. "Come on, Arya."

She said goodbye to the lot of them – who only very briefly acknowledged their presences before getting back to work. She wrapped her arms around Gendry's shoulders and he stopped typing to remove his headphones and look at her.

"We're out of here." She said, kissing his cheek. "We're blowing this popsicle stand."

"Alright." He kissed her softly and quickly. "Sorry, it's been so crazy, and probably boring for you. Once this is over I owe you a creature-feature marathon and many snacks."

Arya squeezed her arms around his shoulders in a hug. "I'll hold you to it."

She let go of him and grabbed her bag by the door, following Brienne out and to her car. "So, where are we off to?" She asked, sliding into the driver's seat. "Dorms, the big house, or SanSan's?"

"SanSan's." Brienne sighed tiredly, resting her head back with her eyes closed. "I need to be away from the dorm and away from people. Plus, Sandor has the good beer."

"That he does." Arya agreed, driving in the direction of the apartment.

Sansa and Sandor were curled up on the couch when they walked in. The large tv was playing some show they'd been trying to get through recently, but weren't sure if they were fully into.

"Hey guys." Sansa smiled from where she was leaning against Sandor, blanket all wrapped around her, box of cookies in her lap. "What're you doing back so soon?"

Arya jabbed a thumb in Brienne's direction. "They all have finals and Brienne's on the brink so we came for beer and snacks."

Sandor grunted and gave Arya a glare that read – don't drink all my beer, girl – without him actually having to use his words. She just sent him a thumbs up in return.

"Aw," Sansa sent a sympathetic expression Brienne's way. "Well, let me know if you want me to cook or order food."

"Will do."

Arya grabbed Brienne and made her way into the kitchen where they raided the pantry and the fridge for snacks and beverages, before slinking down the hall into Arya's room.

They settled on the bed, Brienne tossing the clothes scattered across the foot of the mattress onto the loveseat where the rest of her laundry was. Arya didn't even yell at her for mixing clean clothes with dirty ones, mostly because she didn't want to hear Brienne roll her eyes about Arya just using a hamper like a normal person instead of piling her laundry on her couch.

She handed Brienne the remote and leaned back against the pillows and the wall, settling in. They stayed like that for some time – lying on Arya's bed, bingeing some show or another, and snacking liberally.

"So, how's it going with Boy Wonder?" Brienne asked after some time.

Arya looked over at her with a chuckle at the unexpected nickname. "Boy Wonder? Since when has Robb been demoted? Do you think he'll cry when we tell him Gendry's taken his place in your heart?"

Brienne rolled his eyes and stole the chips out of Arya's hands. "Shut up."

"Gendry's fine." Arya answered after her chuckling had subsided. "We're good. He's just been busy with school, as you know."

Brienne mimed stabbing herself in her chest and dying – so, it was a safe bet that she knew, yeah.

"That's good."

The silence hung between them and Arya stared at Brienne's face with narrowed eyes. Brienne was resolutely staring at the tv, shoving her mouth full of her pilfered chips. "What aren't you telling me."

Brienne rolled her eyes, "I'm not not telling you anything." She said through a full mouth.

"Fine, then what aren't you asking me?"

"I'm not not asking you anything."

Arya's gaze narrowed further. "What's happening here?"

Brienne rolled her eyes and finally turned to face Arya. "God! Nothing's happening here. Now, shut up, because I'm watching the sexual tension between Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkleson unfold."

"Is it because I still haven't given you the deets about sex with Gendry?"

Brienne promptly choked.

"Because I'll tell you right now. I was just trying to spare you the ooey-gooey details."

"Ew, you slag heap, don't refer to your sexual relations as ooey-gooey." Brienne turned her disgusted face away and Arya rolled her eyes.

"It was good." Arya shrugged nonchalantly, munching on a brownie. "Not that I actually have anything to compare it to. But, objectively, it was very pleasurable. Gendry and I are profoundly good at sex – I think, anyway. It's only gotten better, and hotter."

Brienne fake gagged and threw the bag of chips back at Arya. "I don't need to know how much sex you and Gendry are having, thanks."

"Then what aren't you telling me!" Arya jumped up onto her knees and began bouncing on the bed while shaking Brienne. "Tell me! Tell me! Tell me! Tell –"

"Jaime Lannister kissed me!"

Arya actually, full on, bodily, gasped.

Her jaw was hanging open, hand clutching her pearls, eyes wide in shock.

Shock – that's actually what she was feeling. She wasn't being over dramatic or anything. She was literally in a state of shock.

"What?!" Arya had stopped moving in her surprise, but she resumed shaking Brienne as the words came out of her mouth. "What are you saying to my face right now?!"

Brienne's fair skin was mottled red with a blush, her eyes resolutely not looking at Arya's. "I don't know! It just… happened."

Arya sat back on her heels, waiting for Brienne to continue. When it became clear that she wasn't going to without help, Arya began to pester her with questions.

"Okay, well, first of all, let's ask this question: how?"

Brienne just shrugged aggressively and with a forced casualness that was actually painful to witness. "We've been working together a lot, especially after the whole Renly debacle, and yesterday he just sort of… kissed me."

"On the mouth." Arya couldn't help but asking with big eyes.

Brienne rolled her own eyes, "Yes, on the mouth, you doofus."

"Okay. Well… did you enjoy it?"

Brienne went back to staring at anything other than Arya, her subsiding blush returning with a vengeance. "I mean…"

"Oh my god!"

"Shut up!"

"You have a crush on Jaime Lannister! Oh my god!"

"Shut up!"

"Fuck you! I'm never shutting up again! This is the best thing I've ever heard in my whole life."

Brienne tackled Arya to the floor – Arya laughing between groans, because Brienne was a lot heavier than she looked.

"Arya, I swear to god –"

Arya laid on the floor with Brienne hovering over her. She smiled up at her best friend and shook her head. "We need to find out what this kiss meant."

Brienne rolled her eyes, "I'm pretty sure I know what the kiss meant, Arya. It meant he wanted to kiss me, so he did."

"Yes, Brienne, that is what that means. But, is he in love with you or does he just want to fuck you." The punch to her arm would definitely leave a bruise. "Ow! Okay, sorry."

She pointed a stern finger at Arya that reminded her too much of her mother. "You are not meddling in this. Do you hear me?"

"I swear if you had put 'young lady' at the end of that sentence, I was going to have to call Buzzfeed Unsolved to exercise the ghost of my dead mother out of you."

"Shut up, you nit."

Arya leaned up and threw her arms around Brienne's shoulders obnoxiously. "I'm just so excited for you! Being kissed by swoony – if not mildly morally corrupt – older gentlemen, it's like you're Scarlett O'Hara."

Brienne just pushed Arya away by the head. "You're so annoying."

"I know." Arya agreed as they hauled themselves back up onto her bed. "But you're stuck with me now. We have a blood contract and everything."

Brienne rolled her eyes. "Sometimes I hate that I know you."

"Love you too."


A week after Brienne's big Lannister confession, Arya and Gendry were convinced their friends had some sort of secret pack to ruin any and all of their sexual relations. The proof was in the pudding – and there seemed to be a lot of pudding. Gendry hadn't liked that analogy, but Arya hadn't been able to think of something better at the time.

The first time it happened, they didn't really think anything of it.

Gendry had her pinned to the door, kissing a hot line up her neck to her jaw. She had her head thrown back against the door, her hips canted forward to meet his, arms wrapped tightly around those ridiculous shoulders.

His hands were sliding up her back as he held her to him, finally one moved to put his key in the door, his mouth never leaving hers. The door opened behind them and he walked her backwards, kissing fast and warm, bites to lower lips and tongues swiping over the roof of mouths. Gendry kicked the door closed behind them.

"Hey guys."

They pulled apart, Gendry looking over Arya's shoulder, Arya turning her head but not her body to look behind her.

Hot Pie and Lommy sat in the living room, Lommy spread over the couch, Hot Pie in the favored arm chair. An open pizza box was sitting on the coffee table; some rerun was playing on the tv.

Lommy was raising his brows and smirking at them, Hot Pie wasn't even looking in their direction.

"Uh… hey?" Gendry sounded breathless and a bit confused, which, so was Arya.

"We got pizza." Hot Pie supplied unhelpfully, playing a game on his phone.

"What are you guys doing here?"

Lommy rolled his eyes, "Finals are over. Where else are we supposed to go?"

Gendry sighed heavily and rolled his own eyes before looking down at Arya. She just shrugged her shoulders. It wasn't her apartment, and she'd grown up in the house she had, people just… being around didn't really phase her.

They ended up sitting with them and playing video games until they passed out.

-0-0-

The second time it happened, Gendry was convinced their friends were trying to cock-block them on purpose. Arya hadn't been so convinced, yet. But, she had thought of that Ian Fleming quote – Once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence. Gendry had scoffed at that.

They were in his shower, kissing beneath the hot spray of water. Gendry had Arya backed up to the tile, legs wrapped around his waist. One of her arms was wrapped tightly around his neck, the other held on to the lip in the tile where the window was, helping support her weight. Gendry had her, arms wrapped firmly around her waist as he slid into her roughly over and over again.

They were both panting and groaning around the kiss, Arya finally breaking it as she leaned her head back against the shower wall and breathing heavily with her eyes closed.

Gendry couldn't take the way she looked all spread out and wet before him. He raked his eyes down her flushed skin to the way her perfect breasts moved with each thrust of his hips. He couldn't help but snap them forward a little more forcefully, both to watch the way her tits moved and to chase the feeling spasming through him when she clenched around him because of it.

He was just starting to build up something of a rhythm that would bring them crashing over, Arya had just started to do that thing she did when she was close to coming – the eyelashes fluttering-mouth open thing that made him actually, physically weak – when the door to the apartment opened and closed loudly.

He was set to just ignore it, thrusted harder because of it, and Arya let out a slight whine which definitely helped in his firm stance to power through, when a relentless pounding came on the bathroom door.

"Arya!"

Arya's eyes opened, the arm around his neck moving up to slide a hand in his hair and tugging at it to get him to stop. He did, resting his face in her neck and sighing heavily into the wet flesh. He was still tucked up, throbbing inside of her. It was literal torture.

"Brienne, what the fuck?" She yelled over his shoulder.

"Arya, 911, S.O.S, Life Alert!"

Arya sighed, "Brienne, are you fucking kidding me right now?"

"Arya," Brienne called through the door. "I don't care that you're having sexy shower time with Gendry – sorry, Gendry – I'm in need of your assistance ASAP! This is a Code R.A.B type situation!"

"Did she just make a Harry Potter reference?" His words muffled by her skin.

"No." Ayra groaned, thunking her head back against the tile wall, causing Gendry's face to move from her neck. "Yes. Kind of. I mean, it's a Harry Potter reference, yeah, which is why we use it, but it's the code for when something went down with Renly. Get it – Renly Baratheon, R.A.B?"

How was this his life? Arya literally wrapped around him in the shower, her best friend outside the bathroom door yelling Harry Potter acronyms that had to do with his uncle but most likely not anymore. He sighed.

She gave him an apologetic look.

"No." He whined. "You're kidding me, right?"

"I'm sorry." She sighed with her big, grey eyes and genuine remorse in them. "I'm really, really sorry. But, Brienne doesn't ask for a lot and if she showed up here looking for me then it has to be important." She kissed him on the lips while she spoke. "I'm sorry. I love you. Sorry."

Gendry pulled out of her and helping to set her down.

"Arya!"

"I'll be out in a second!" She yelled back.

She kissed him one last time before stepping out of the shower, wrapping a towel around herself, and stepping out of the bathroom.

Gendry just leaned back against the tile he had been previously fucking his girlfriend against and heaved a great sigh.

Their friends had the worst timing.


The third time it happened, Arya was more than convinced and on-board with Gendry's prognosis of their sex-life. And she'd finally remembered the last part of that quote – Three times is enemy action.

It had been one of the rare days where Arya wasn't at the gym and Gendry didn't have class or a shift at the Library. Tobho had let him off early and they had basically the whole day together.

They spent it going to lunch at their new favorite café in the Keep that served insanely delicious, overpriced coffee and artisanal sandwiches that were a bit pompous, but definitely worth it. Then, they went and did something spontaneous and stupid because they had the time – bowling, it was bowling – and after that they spent the afternoon watching tv and making out.

They'd just gotten to the good part where Gendry had Arya spread out on the couch with her knees bent over his shoulders as his head worked between her legs. She was arched, and gasping, hands gripping tightly at his messy hair while he licked and probed deep inside of her.

His hips had just started to grind against the cushions from the way she was tugging his hair and stuttered moans and how her heels dug almost painfully into his back.

It was then, of course, that the door to the apartment opened and their friends busted in.

"Ew, dudes, seriously?" Lommy whined. "We eat pizza on that couch."

Gendry froze, sighing as he laid his forehead below Arya's bellybutton as she attempted to catch her breath enough to kill their friends.

"Looks like that's not the only thing being eaten on that couch anymore." Hot Pie nudged Podrick with his elbow, smirking, holding a hand out for Lommy to high-five. "Am I right?"

"You're fucking disgusting." Lommy knocked Hot Pie's hand away.

"Get the fuck out!" Gendry yelled without picking up his head from Arya's stomach. "Why are you even still here?"

Lommy grabbed a blushing Pod, who was looking very studiously at his phone's lock screen, and turned about face out the door. "Maybe lock the door next time, just saying."

Hot Pie stood there for a minute before Lommy came back through the door to drag Hot Pie with him. "And also maybe answer your phones!"

With that, the door slammed behind them and Gendry and Arya were alone once again.

"I hate them." Arya said, arm thrown over her eyes and a flush still staining her neck. "We're officially unfriending them. All of them."

Gendry just gently kissed the exposed skin he'd laid his head on. "Okay."

"I don't even care that we'd be friendless losers with no invites to anywhere. They keep cockblocking us!"

"Officially unfriended."

Arya snorted and smiled as she moved the arm from over her eyes and pulled him up by his shoulders so he was laying on her. She smiled at him as she moved the insanely wayward hair from his face and kissed him. Nipping at his lip, licking deep into his mouth, tasting herself on his tongue.

She pulled back to look at him in those ocean eyes of his. Still vast and depthless, but now so full of emotions she could read, emotions that she could feel. "I love you."

"I know."

She shoved his shoulder playfully, "Don't Han Solo me!"

Gendry let out a laugh and kissed her cheek. "I wasn't! I swear!"


Two days later and Gendry had just gotten done with one of the longest shifts he'd worked at Mott's in a very long time. Having just eaten a very late dinner, he wanted nothing more than to shower, let Arya have him in any which way she preferred, and then pass out as he listened to her talk back to his television.

Of course, as they pulled into the parking lot and got out of her car, he immediately noticed not only Pod's car parked next to his bike, but Hot Pie's, and Brienne's as well. Lommy was most likely up there as well, and if they knew more than four people – aside from those that Arya was related to – than he was sure they'd be up there as well.

"You've gotta be fucking kidding me." He groaned, leaning back against Arya's car and leaning his head against the cool metal.

"Hey," Arya said soothingly. "Come on, I've got an idea."

She pulled him from her car and walked him up to his apartment. Once they got to his door she pushed him back against it and kissed him the way she kissed when she was all worked up and needy. It was a zero to sixty kind of moment, but after the initial shock of being thrown around faded, it didn't take him long to get into it. He kissed her back just as intensely, licking deep into her mouth, cupping her face with his hands.

She pulled back just briefly, her breathing already labored. "Just keep going, don't stop. Okay?"

He just nodded, dazed, eyes trained on her lips. She was kissing him again without hesitation.

It was then that he felt her reach behind him and open the door to the apartment. She walked him backwards, inside of it. The noise of the tv was all he heard as the chatter faded as they entered. Arya pulled back from him just slightly, eyes trained solely on him, totally ignoring the other people in the room with them.

Arya shrugged off her jacket, still walking him further and further into the apartment. She pulled the shirt right over her head and leaned up to kiss him as she pushed his jacket off. Once it hit the floor he wasted no time stripping his own shirt, dropping it where they walked, Arya threw hers at the couch where it hit Pod in the face.

She reached around behind her to start unclipping her bra when Brienne stood. "Oh-kay, time to go."

"What? No way, I'm enjoying the free show." Arya didn't see Brienne hit Lommy, but she heard his "Ow!"

The bedroom door shut behind them and they both paused, waiting to hear their friends exit the building. Once the apartment door was firmly shut, Arya quite literally tackled Gendry to the bed and kissed him firmly.

"Thank fucking god." She mumbled against his mouth, kissing him as she attempted to shimmy out of her jeans without getting off of him.

Gendry sat up, helping her remove her jeans and shoving his own off as well. Arya got up off of him, going to where he stashed the condoms and grabbing one as he moved towards the center of the bed on his knees.

"Here." She threw the condom at him. "Come on, I want it hard and fast and right now."

Gendry nodded, picking up the foil square from the bed in front of him, his cock throbbing a bit more at her words and her breathless, desperate tone. "I can do that."

He tore open the package and began rolling on the condom as he stroked himself a bit, watching as she unhooked her bra and stepped out of her underwear. He'd never get tired of seeing her naked. Never not feel that rush of heat, that throb of arousal, when faced with her smooth skin, long, shapely legs, bouncy ass, perfect breasts.

He knew this wasn't the case at all, but she could be unattractive to everyone and he'd still think she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.

Her recently chopped hair swung about her shoulders as she jumped up on the bed to kiss him. She wrapped her arms around his neck, bringing their lips together frantically as she threaded her fingers in his messy hair. He wrapped his own arms around her waist, bringing her naked body closer to him, his cock brushing against her smooth stomach and causing sparks to ignite behind his eyes.

He kissed down her neck, his hands roaming over her body until they settled on her plump ass. It caused their hips to grind together, pulling a gasp from his throat. He kissed over her collarbone, down to her breast. He kissed around the heavy flesh before licking her nipple with the flat of his tongue. Her heavy breathing hitched. He did it again.

"Gen," She sighed out, head tossed back as he suckled her breast and kneaded her ass. She

whined. "Come on, just fuck me already."

She pulled away from him and turned around, bending over with her ass in the air and her face in the pillows. He groaned at the sight, grabbing the base of his dick.

She was all on display for him, open and wet with pale flesh turned pink from desire. He scooted towards her on his knees, grabbing that beautiful ass and spreading her open just a little more. He heard her moan, muffled by the pillow she'd chosen to smash her face into.

He grasped his cock firmly in one hand, the other still hold her ass tightly, and slowly pushed into her wet heat.

His head tilted back, eyes closed, mouth open. They'd done this a lot by now, but every time still felt incredible, still shocked him by how good it was.

Gendry bottomed out and Arya whined, bucking back, causing his hands to tighten around her.

"Come on, Gen –" He cut her off by pulling out and thrusting back in, hard. "– dry! Oh my god, yes!"

He gripped her hips tightly as he slammed into her again and again. He pulled her up, so her back was against his chest, changing the angle and making her cry out. One hand went to her chest, squeezing and kneading her breast, the other went down to her clit, rubbing relentlessly as she squirmed against him.

He kept pounding into her, her head leaning against his shoulder, her moans and whines going directly into his ear, fueling him on.

"Harder," She moaned. "More, Gen."

He paused only briefly to walk them further up the bed toward the headboard where he positioned her hands and bent her slightly to create a new angle. He held her hips as he thrust up into her relentlessly. She cried out, bucking back against him in counter thrusts that had him seeing stars.

"Please, I'm so close," She whined, pushing back against him just as quickly as he was pounding into her. "Please, Gen, please, I'm so close."

He moved just slightly, thrusting up, and he knew by the way she tightened around him and gasped that he'd found a good angle.

He was close, he could feel the tightening in his balls, the way his stomach felt cramped, his cock felt too heavy. "Arya," He basically whispered in a gruff voice. "I'm gonna come."

"I'm so close, Gendry, please."

She reached a hand down to touch herself, her fingers working quickly over her clit. They accidentally touched his cock as it moved in and out of her and that was kind of it for him. The feeling of her touching him as he fucked her pushed him over the edge and he was coming hard. He kept fucking her through it, hoping to trigger her orgasm and it seemed to work because not long after she was coming around his slightly over sensitive cock.

The feeling of it sent shivers down his spine and his goosebumps erupted over his skin. He pulled out of her gently, lying back as she did the same, both of them breathing heavily. Arya raised a hand and Gendry chuckled as he raised his own hand to meet hers in a high-five. Which felt both corny and grounding.

"Well," She started, her breathing still a bit labored. "I think it's safe to say that we've exorcised the ghouls haunting our sex life."

Gendry barked out a laugh and whacked her with a pillow for her ridiculousness. Her squawk of indignation just made him smile harder.


"Hey."

Arya whispered, plopping down into the empty seat next to Gendry, who looked at her with all the shock and confusion he could muster.

"Uh, what are you doing here?" He whispered back, still in literal shock at Arya sitting next to him in the lecture hall.

"I need a favor and your phone is on silent when you're in class and you never check your phone until you're already in the parking lot. I couldn't risk you not answering me."

He glared at her with suspicion. "Just how big is this favor?"

Arya shrugged, leaning back in the uncomfortable desk chair with a forced casualness that was almost funny to witness. "Not big, just important and time sensitive."

Gendry leaned closer to her, whispering as he looked around conspiratorially. "You're not asking me to like, bury a body for you or anything? Right?"

Arya rolled her eyes at his ridiculousness and shoved him back to his desk and out of her space, whispering back. "No, you fucking goon. Now, meet me in the parking lot after class."

And with that, Arya got up and slinked back out of the lecture hall, leaving Gendry staring after her in confusion.

He finished up the longest fifteen minutes of notetaking of his short life before rushing out of the hall and to the student parking lot where Arya was waiting for him. She'd somehow managed to snag a parking spot beside his bike and was sitting in her car, talking on the phone. He couldn't hear what she was saying, but he could see her mouth moving and her hands gesticulating wildly.

He opened the passenger side door and slid in, listening to Rickon complain about Arya's unwillingness to come pick him up so he didn't have to sit through Bran and Jojen's make out session while they waited for Meera to finish practice and take them home.

"Not my problem. You guys made the schedule, not me. It's Meera's turn to drive you fuckers home, I have plans."

"Arya!" Rickon yelled angrily over the line. "I don't care if you have a prior engagement that involves your boyfriend's dick! I can't sit through this anymore, it's fucking torture! Actual, fucking, torture. They're all like, in love or whatever and its grossing me out."

"Rickon!" Arya yelled back. "Not. My. Fucking. Problem, pal."

"You are slime!"

"Takes one to know one, brat!"

She hung up after that, turning to Gendry will a smile. "Hey, ready to go?"

He was still thoroughly confused by the Stark sibling dynamic.

Like, thoroughly.

He wasn't entirely sure he'd ever understand it, honestly. Maybe it was because he was raised as an only child, that he'd grown up alone. Or, maybe he still wouldn't have grasped it even if he'd had siblings, maybe it was just a Stark thing.

"Uh, yeah? Where are we going, exactly?"

Arya buckled her seatbelt and began to back out of the parking space before she began talking.

"Okay, so, here's the deal." She didn't look over at Gendry as she dove, which was sign number one that whatever she was about to ask him to do, he was going to hate. He held in a sigh and listened as she spoke. "We're going to Lannister & Lannister."

"And, why are we doing that?" God, he already hated this.

"Because Jaime kissed Brienne and now Brienne has a crush on Jaime – which, I think she's always sort of had, but was so blinded by her undying love to Renly that we sort of just… missed it? Somehow? I don't know, anyway, she's being super weird about it, so we're going to spy on them in their natural habitat so I can see this shit for myself and figure out how to help her."

"Wait, hold on." Gendry turned in his seat to stare at her. "What?"

Arya snuck a peek in his direction before staring resolutely ahead. "Jaime kissed Brienne –"

"Yeah, got that. Absolutely fucking weird, but got it." He huffed out a sigh and ran a hand through his hair. "And, why do you need me for this?"

"Because if we get caught I need a valid reason for being there. That's where you come in."

"Can't you just… say you're there to visit Brienne?"

Arya shot him a look that spoke volumes about how stupid she thought he was without her having to say it out loud. "No, you fool, I don't care about getting caught by security. I need an excuse in case I get caught by Brienne!"

Gendry rolled his eyes and settled back against the passenger seat. "This is ridiculous."

"Hey!" Arya shot her hand out to smack him in the chest. "This is what you signed onto when we became friends. This isn't even a part of the girlfriend contract; this is something you said yes to when you decided to be my friend."

"Uh, I never signed on for stalking Brienne and my step-uncle at my real-uncle's place of business."

"You know that's not what I mean." Arya rolled her eyes. "You signed on for my ridiculous, harebrained schemes and the right to force you to be a part of them. It's why Brienne was even involved in Operation Quiver."

"Operation… what?"

"Quiver." She said off-handedly. "You know, the time I tried to seduce you?"

He shook his head, mouth hanging slightly open as he processed this entire car ride. "You named the time you tried to seduce me Operation Quiver?"

Arya shrugged all nonchalant-like, totally unfazed. "Lommy named it."

"Oh my god." He groaned. "How do I even like you? That's the cheesiest thing I've ever heard. What, are we suddenly starring in a teen drama and no one let me know?"

Arya rolled her eyes, "Shut up."

Gendry settled back into the passenger seat as Arya drove them over to the Lannister & Lannister offices in the middle of central King's Landing. It wasn't far from King's College, so Gendry needed to get their plan of action, escape plan, plan of attack – actually, just, any and all of the plans ready.

"Okay, so, what are we doing?"

Arya looked over at him like she was about to rant at his face so he cut her off quickly.

"We're going to scope out Brienne and Jaime – got that part. But, what are we doing?" He looked over at her. "Are we just walking in, up to their floor and… hoping for the best? What's our plan here?"

"I… hadn't actually gotten that far." She admitted, looking at him a bit sheepishly. "That's kind of where you come in. You know the place better than I do."

"Unfortunately, yeah." Gendry sighed.

"I was thinking that we'd go in implying that we were there to see Renly and just kind of… wing it from there."

Gendry nodded, "Solid base. I know most of the receptionists, so it won't be entirely unbelievable, I suppose. Do you know what floor she's on?"

"I think she works on… seven?"

"Oh, duh." Gendry rolled his own eyes at himself. "Renly's on seven and they're in the same group." He sighed and rubbed his tired eyes. "See, this is why I don't sleuth, I don't have the mind for it."

Arya patted his thigh fondly, if not a little playfully patronizing. "Yeah." She agreed. "But you sure are pretty."

Gendry sputtered in his indignation. "Are you trying to tell me that I'm the dim but pretty face in this relationship?"

Arya shot him a look that meant he best tread carefully. "Are you calling me the dim one?"

"No, I'm calling you the pretty one."

"Oh," She smiled beatifically in his direction. "Thank you."

Gendry snorted and smiled as he shook his head at her and grabbed the hand closest to him for the remainder of their drive.

God, he was so stupidly in love with her.

With her wonky, harebrained schemes, with her ridiculous family, with the life she'd pulled him into. He knew things were going to be different soon, that she'd eventually, and not all that far from now, be going to Uni and he'd still be here finishing his own degree.

They hadn't really talked about it much, not for a while anyway, back when they were just friends and she'd mentioned it casually and in passing, but he knew that she needed to figure out what she was doing by the end of the summer. If she was going to take the scholarship in Braavos or not. If she was going to leave him and train across the country or… not.

He knew she'd also been accepted to King's College, which was a top University. But, University of Braavos had the Guild, the Faceless Men – the best fencing team in basically the world. How could she not go? How could she not choose them?

She hadn't the first time – he reminded himself.

She'd technically differed from both her options, thus not really making a choice at all. But, if she'd really wanted to go to Braavos than she would have at the beginning of this year.

But, he didn't want to hold her back. He didn't want her to choose King's College for him. It'd suck having her so far away, but, they'd figure it out.

Whatever she ended up choosing, he'd be okay with. He'd practiced that speech with Pod four times already, maybe if he kept silently repeating it to himself everything would be okay.

They pulled up to the gaudy, oversized Lannister & Lannister building, jerking him from his thoughts and forcing him to focus back to this half-baked nonsense of a mission Arya was forcing them on.

Now, though, he was admittedly curious about his step-uncle's intentions. He wanted to see this with his own eyes, assess the situation. Who knows, maybe he could even hold it over Cersei one day.

"Okay," Arya killed the engine and turned to face him. "So we go up to the seventh floor, act all normal and cool, pretend like we're just there to see Renly, no big deal."

"No big deal." Gendry shrugged with a forced casualness.

"But, we track Brienne and Jaime's vibe-age –"

"Not a real word." Gendry cut in.

"– they're working on some case together, so it shouldn't be hard to catch them in action. We see what's up, assess the sitch –"

"Still not a real word."

"– then we bounce. Cool? Cool."

Arya grabbed the keys and fled the car quickly, causing Gendry to have to exit faster than a normal human just to catch up with her colt-like legs.

"Hold up, hold up." He grabbed her elbow and slowed her to a normal pace. "Relax, you're already acting majorly suspicious."

Arya looked affronted, but did nothing to up her pace again. "What? How dare you, I am not."

"Just act like a normal human person."

"Me?" Arya scoffed. "You're the one acting like a weird troll person." She gestured towards his odd posture and even odder turtle face. "Stop making your face look like that."

"I'm not making my face look like anything, this is just my face!"

"That is not your face, that's your I'm pretending I'm not lying face."

Gendry sent her a shocked look before falling right back into his lying turtle face. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

Arya shook her head and sighed, running her hands over her face. "Okay, you know what? This may not work. We might need a new plan."

"We don't have another plan."

"Alright." Arya removed her hands from her face. "You know what? Let's just shake it out." She proceeded to shake her arms and twist her body. "Come on, Gen, just… shake it."

Gendry watched her and shook his head, "My body doesn't move like that."

"Well it's about to. Come on, Waters, shake it out."

She grabbed his wristed and began to shake him from side to side in an odd little wiggle. They must look so weird on the security feed.

When Arya let go they looked at each other and she shrugged a shoulder in forced-casualness. "Totally normal."

Gendry mimicked the action, his face falling back into the lying turtle expression as he did it. "Totally normal."

Arya looked at him for a moment before giving up. "It'll have to do. Let's go."

They headed inside the lobby, smiling as normally as they could at the receptionist, who was on the phone and not even looking in their direction. They boarded the elevator, hit seven, and waited to go up.

"So Jaimie kissed Brienne." Gendry couldn't help but repeat as the elevator went up floor by floor.

"Yup." Arya replied.

"In like, what context?" He looked over at her. "Were they just working and all of a sudden he laid one on her? Did he kiss her to shut her up? Were they being hunted by a spy organization and had to kiss to blend in on an escalator? What's the scenario here?"

Arya side-eyed him, "A Winter Solider reference, really?"

"We watched it the other night, it's fresh in my mind." Gendry shrugged.

"I don't really know the context." Arya shrugged. "She said they were here and it just… happened. I basically had to beat that out of her, so she wasn't super forthcoming with the rest of the deets."

"It's just kind of odd."

Arya turned to give him the stink eye, "Are you implying that my best friend in the whole world Brienne Tarth is not a beautiful, attractive person that your uncle could be captivated by?"

"Step-uncle." Gendry clarified. "And, never said that. I just said that it's kind of odd. Jaime hasn't ever been married, honestly I don't even remember him ever dating. I mean, he was in the Royal Militia when he was younger and they aren't really allowed to date or get anyone pregnant, so I had just always assumed that was why he didn't. But, now he's going around kissing women half his age?" He looked at her and shrugged a shoulder, "Odd."

"Yeah," Arya nodded. "Odd."

Gendry watched the floor number slide to six. "And, I do think Brienne is beautiful in her own way, just like you and every other woman in the world. Beauty is a construct, it's not real unless it's in the eye of the beholder because beauty's objective."

Arya stared at him for a moment before grasping the front of his t-shirt and pulling him down to meet her height. She kissed him soundly, then released him, smiling at him fondly.

"I love you."

He smiled, "I love you too."

The elevator dinged and the doors opened on the seventh floor, they exited and were greeted by the receptionist, Charlene, who smiled widely at Gendry.

"Here to see Renly?"

"Yeah," Gendry smiled softly, ocean eyes never leaving hers. Arya snorted, damn prick didn't even realize what he was doing. "Is he in?"

Charlene looked apologetic, like it was personally her fault that she couldn't make Gendry's dreams come true. Was this every day for him? Did women just fawn over him while he was so blind to it? Actually, yes, it did, she'd witnessed it many times.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Baratheon, but he's stepped out for lunch. I could call him if you'd like –"

"No!" Charlene looked a bit startled by his strong reaction, but Gendry just smiled again a little sheepishly and that seemed to placate her. "No, that's alright. He's out with Loras, wouldn't want to interrupt them. We'll just wait in his office, no big deal. Thank you, Charlene."

Charlene just seemed tickled that he remembered her name and waved them through with a smile directed at Gendry. Arya watched as the woman's gaze lowered to his ass as they walked away. She couldn't blame her, Gendry had an excellent ass.

"Well, that was easy." Arya elbowed Gendry. "How come you were never that charming with me?"

Gendry turned to look down at her, looking personally attacked. "I'm charming."

Arya snorted, "Not like that, you're not."

"I'm very charming."

"You were basically terrified to speak to me for a year and then once you actually did get the nerve it was awkward high school nerd hits on popular cheerleader vibes." She had her arms held out like she was spelling out the title of a hit Hollywood movie, but smiled at him playfully. "Relax, I found it kind of hot, so it all worked out."

"You're the worst." Gendry grumbled, a blush rising over his cheeks.

Arya smiled up at him, "I know."

They walked down the hall and turned a corner when suddenly Gendry was being pulled to the floor. They were couched behind a cubicle, peeking around the corner of it.

Brienne was at her cubicle, Jaime in his office. If they could get to Renly's office unseen, they'd have the perfect vantage point. Arya looked at him, attempting to convey all of that in her eyes, he seemed to understand.

A secretary that Gendry vaguely recognized walked passed, staring down at them in confusion. Gendry smiled and waved a bit, attempting to placate her from the weirdness of it all. He wasn't sure if it worked, but Arya was crouched down and running towards Renly's office and Gendry had no choice but to follow.

"We should've brought disguises." He whispered harshly as he attempted to contort his tall frame to something significantly less tall. "Then we could've just walked over to Renly's office like normal people."

They ducked behind a water cooler as Brienne got up from her desk and made her way into Jaime's office.

"Yeah," Arya agreed a bit reluctantly. "We probably just should've scheduled a fake appointment and came dressed up. I really didn't think this one through."

Gendry patted her back supportively. "It's alright, better luck next time."

Arya snorted and smiled up at him from their odd, crouched position. "You're so lame. I can't wait to see what you'll be like with kids."

He felt a warm flush cascade over him at her words. They hadn't been together all that long, and in the grand scheme of things they hadn't even been friends for that long either. But, Gendry knew that he'd like to spend his life with Arya, however naïve that may seem seeing as she was his first real relationship. With the thought of children though, the thought of a boring married life with little kids roaming about, he could picture it with her.

It was not something they'd ever talked about before and Gendry knew Arya was kidding, but the thought still made him warm.

He hoped he'd be a good father, a good husband, better than Robert anyhow. It wasn't really something he'd stopped to consider before this. And, he knew having a life-altering moment in the middle of sneaking through his uncle's place of work to spy on Arya's best friend and his step-uncle was probably not the best way to go about things, but sa la vie – right?

While Brienne's back was turned, talking to Jaime in the doorway of his office, they slinked over to Renly's office and managed to get inside easily. They gently closed the door behind them, kneeling on the floor and leaning on the chairs lined up against the glass wall of the office, facing where Brienne and Jaime stood looking over folders of paperwork.

Arya sighed and looked to Gendry, raising her hand for a high-five, which he complied with. They'd done it – shockingly enough.

Gendry had no idea when Renly would be back, but for the moment they were safe from prying eyes.

"So, are we just going to sit here on the floor of his dark office and watch them?"

Arya shrugged and nodded, "Yeah, basically."

"It's kind of creepy."

"Gendry," Arya rolled her eyes at him. "I think we're past creepy at this point. Now shut up and help me stalk my best friend."

Gendry shook his head and bit back a smile. "The way you love is so intense and weird."

"Don't you forget it."

They sat there on the floor, hidden partially by the chairs they were leaning on, watching Brienne and Jaime interact. Arya would comment and Gendry would make some noise of appraisal or disapproval in response. So far, nothing crazy happened, but Brienne didn't seem to be the bumbling, blushing, virgin bride she'd been around Renly which was… interesting.

Arya took note of the way she would roll her eyes at Jaime or shove things into his hands only to rip them away the very moment he seemed to be done with it. She was almost aggressive in her demeanor, but not annoyed, it seemed almost playful. Super weird.

And even weirder, Jaime seemed to like it?

He smirked and smiled fondly at Brienne when she was looking and when she wasn't. He came out of his office often to lean casually against her work cubby and strike up some inane conversation that had her glaring or rolling her eyes at him.

Oh, they definitely had a thing going on.

How the fuck had Arya managed to miss this?

In her Gendry-induced drama haze she apparently missed this incredibly weird but also very sweet slowburn happening between the two of them. Not ever something Arya thought she'd ship, but seeing it in live-action, she kind of got it.

Jaime Lannister had a swarthiness about him that all the Lannisters seemed to possess, and that would initially turn her off, but it was the small glimpses of his nobility and honor that sneaked through. And Arya got it. She got why Brienne was attracted to him – outside of his blonde, once-a-frat-boy good looks.

"Well, shit." Is all she managed to mutter out loud.

Then Renly walked in, back from lunch and there was literally nothing they could do but sit there on the floor, in the dark, and hope that Renly didn't think this was some weird sex thing they were doing.

He opened his office door, turned on the light, and proceeded to just stare down at them.

"Uh, hello?"

"Heeey, Ren." Gendry said unhelpfully from his position on the floor.

Renly shut his office door, walked over to his desk and set down his belongings, still looking at the two of them in confusion. But, not as much confusion as a normal person would in this situation?

"So, what's going on here, guys?" He asked in a voice suspiciously similar to that of a camp counselor finding the camp kids doing something illegal but also hilarious.

Gendry just looked up at his uncle, totally at a loss for what to say. Arya could tell he was attempting to try and find a lie that would work in this instance and not get him made fun of for years to come. Arya just rolled her eyes and turned towards Renly to tell him the truth.

She grabbed at him pant leg and tugged, "Get down here." Surprisingly, he went, sitting on the floor beside him.

"What's happening? Is there a bomb threat? Are we surprising someone for their birthday?" He looked at Arya with wide eyes filled with horror. "Is it Brienne's birthday and I forgot?"

"No." Arya shook her head. "Is this a Baratheon trait? Are you all stupid?"

Renly shrugged a shoulder, looking at Gendry. "Pretty much, yeah."

Arya rolled her eyes. "I'm spying on Brienne and Jaime and needed Gendry as a valid excuse to be here in case she catches me."

Renly's eyes lit up with the threat of hot gossip. "Excuse me, what?" He looked to Gendry for answers, but at this point Gendry was just along for the ride and had nothing, so he turned back to Arya. "You're spying on Brienne and Jaime? Why?"

Arya looked to Gendry, like he was going to help her out here, and ended up rolling her eyes around a sigh. "Jaime sort of… kissed Brienne –"

"What?"

"– and she definitely likes him but was keeping it a secret because – hello, Lannister – and she told me not to meddle but I'm not really good at not meddling and –"

Renly cut off her rambling with a wave of his arms and shock written all over his features. "Hold up, hold up, wait a moment here." He looked above the chairs and out the glass wall to where Brienne was rolling her eyes at Jaime and he was smirking at her from where he leaned against her cubicle. "You're telling me that Brienne, our dear, sweet, Brienne was Casablanca kissed by Jaime Lannister?"

Arya nodded, "Yeah."

"And she likes him?"

Arya nodded again. "I think so."

Renly leaned back against the chairs, winded. "Wow."

"Yeah."

Renly looked back to the two of them crouched on his office floor, then back over his shoulder, sighing. "We're going to need snacks; a proper investigation could take a while."

Now it was Gendry's turn to look confused as Renly army-crawled over to his desk, opened the bottom drawer, and returned with an abundance of sweet treats.

"Uh… Ren?" Gendry said as he took in the candy and snack-y foods his uncle had laid out in front of them.

Renly waved him off, opening a package of Twizzlers and chewing one immediately, already looking out the glass wall towards Brienne and Jaime. "Loras has been on a diet, if I want to eat junk it has to be here."

Arya seemed unfazed by it as well, grabbing some chocolate and scooting up next to Renly. They began to point out eye contact and looks and glances – all things Gendry was not really noticing, but, hey, he was a team player and if sitting on the floor of his uncle's office while he ate his weight in candy helped the team, then he was all for it.

Not long after Arya and Renly had begun their senior thesis into the Braime ship, Loras walked in.

They hadn't seen him come in, too distracted with staring at each other while they attempted to pinpoint the exact time all this could've started between Brienne and Jaime. Then, Loras was opening the door to the office with a confused little frown on his handsome face and Renly whisper-yelling at his fiancé to get in here and close the door!

He pulled Loras down onto the ground with them, shushing him, and knocking over a bag of Doritos in his wake.

"Renly, what the fuck –"

"Loras, darling, what are you doing here?"

Loras looked between him and Gendry and Arya, who had half eaten Twizzlers in their mouths and gave him little waves.

"You left your tablet in my car after lunch."

Renly smiled, kissing Loras gently. "Thank you, darling."

Loras smiled back at him before turning confused eyes back to the scene of the crime. "What exactly are we doing here?"

"Well, you see, my love, apparently Jaime Lannister has made a move on our Brienne and she evidentially has a bit of a crush on him, but won't give Arya anymore details than that. So Arya, here, decided to do a bit of meddling on behalf of her very best friend, dragging my nephew along, and now we're sleuthing out what we can about their relationship."

"From your office floor." Loras raised a brow, looking about. "Like a couple of bridge goblins."

Gendry nodded, "Yup."

Arya shrugged, "Basically, yeah."

Loras sighed, but a hint of a smile emerged in the corners of his lips. "You all are ridiculous." He looked out the glass wall. "So, where are we at."

Both Renly and Arya smiled, diving into what they'd managed to piece together so far.

They went on like that for nearly a half hour when Gendry noticed Brienne leaving her cubby and approaching.

"Guys!" He whisper-yelled, pointing towards the door.

There wasn't much any of them could do as they watched Brienne approach. Arya just hoped it didn't look half as weird as she thought they did.

"Hey Renly –" Brienne entered the office looking down at the papers in her hand, but stopped immediately as she looked up and saw them all sitting on the floor. "Uh… what?"

"Hey." Arya said with a forced casualness.

"What the fuck are you doing?"

Arya looked from her to Gendry and Renly and Loras all sitting on the floor beside her, candy and chips from Renly's hidden snack drawer strewn about in front of them.

"Just hanging." She shrugged. "You know."

Brienne's eyes narrowed suspiciously, "Are you high?"

"No." Arya rolled her eyes. "But, I could see how it may appear that way."

"When did you even get here?"

"Like, a little while ago."

Brienne looked from Arya to Gendry – who was pretending to be napping – to Renly and Loras – who smiled up at her like she was the sun goddess. That one wasn't so out of the ordinary, they did that quite often.

"Brienne, my darling girl, what can I do for you?"

"Uh," Brienne looked down at the papers in her hands. "I have part of the case file Jaime managed to revise if you wanted to take a look."

"Thank you, my dear." He stood from his spot on the floor, stepping over Gendry's prone form and grabbing the folder from her hands. "Tell Jaime I'll look at this and have it back to him before the end of the day."

"Okay…" Brienne looked down at her friend with suspicious, narrowed eyes and seemed hesitant to leave the room, but had no real excuse to stay.

"I'll call you later!" Arya yelled as the door closed behind Brienne. "Oof, that was close."

Loras snorted and smiled at her, "I don't think any of that came off less weird and or suspicious as you'd hoped it would."

"Yeeeah." Arya sighed. "She's definitely going to have questions later. She'll also most definitely be telling Robb and Sansa that she thinks I need to be drug tested."

Renly shrugged, nonchalant about the whole thing. "Par for the course, I suppose."

Arya kicked Gendry in the thigh to get him to fake wake-up. "Come on, Gen, we better go before she decides to come back in here. Our cover's blown."

Gendry hauled himself up from the ground and moved to give Renly a hug. "Sorry for invading your office."

Renly smiled as he released Gendry from the embrace. "Are you kidding me? Best use this office has ever had."

"The best use?" Loras asked pointedly with a brow raised.

Renly bit back a smirk, coming to stand at his fiancé's side. "Well, maybe not the best."

"Okay, we're going now." Gendry said uncomfortably as he opened the office door for Arya.

"Bye, guys." She waved.

"Call me with an update." Renly said seriously and Arya gave him a 10-4 hand gesture in response.

Arya sidled up to Brienne's desk, peaking over the cubby wall. "Au revoir, mon meilleur ami!"

Brienne rolled her eyes at Arya's bad French. "Bonsoir, shithead."

Arya smirked back at her before dragging Gendry out of the building and back to her car. "Wow, well, that was really something and not at all what I was expecting."

Gendry buckled his seatbelt as she started the engine. "Find what you were looking for?"

Arya smirked back at him and Gendry could already feel the sigh coming on. "Oh, not even close."

"Great." He said, leaning back against the headrest and closing his eyes.

Arya patted his thigh sympathetically. "Sorry, bud. But, I'm gonna get to the bottom of his mystery if it takes all the Scooby Snacks in the world. Maybe next time I'll kidnap Renly and Loras, I don't think they'd mind."

Gendry snorted, "Nah, they'd definitely be into it. Renly's invested now."

"Don't worry," Arya cooed as she patted his thigh way too hard to not be fucking with him. "You're still my numero uno."

"I'm hashtag blessed."

Arya busted out laughing and Gendry felt content with where his life was for the first time in a long time.